Outgoing Maharashtra deputy chief minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Chhagan Bhujbal said on Thursday he was unhappy at the train of events that cost him his present job.
But he took a nuanced stand and insisted that he was not sad about losing deputy chief ministership. NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s nephew Ajit Pawar replaced Bhujbal on Wednesday.
Bhujbal said, “I was unhappy with the way the campaign against me was played out.” His grouse was chiefly on account of the fact that the episode happened before the eyes of the media. He spoke to HT after he was inducted into the cabinet.
When asked about the show of strength by Ajit Pawar’s supporters, he said: “I didn’t resort to any show of strength. It is because we have to work together.”
“Ours is a relatively small party — not like the Congress or BJP. We have a very limited number of top positions. Obviously, there would be many who would like to get those. I was deputy chief minister for three terms,” he added.
Sources said he had bargained for a key portfolio in exchange for his “sacrifice”. Bhujbal said he had a discussion with Sharad Pawar before the NCP legislative meeting but did not reveal his future role in the party. About his next step, he said, “It depends on the party. I will handle the responsibility that is assigned to me.”
A party functionary said: “When Ajit Pawar was asked to take a backseat after the 2009 polls, he was given an additional portfolio. If one uses the same logic, Bhujbal will get an additional department.”